Having spent literally a week on the sofa, eating mostly chocolate, I’m now rising like a Phoenix from the flames, or cushions in my case. It was an exhausting run up to Christmas, mostly because we decided to smash our house to smithereens just three weeks before.
But now I’ve got the New Year itch. I spent the other day de-cluttering the office and even had a little wardrobe cull. But before I thrust into 2018 with gusto (?*!), I thought I’d take a little recap- or as our Cilla would say, ‘Here’s our Graham with a quick reminder’. I think it’s a really good idea to look back and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you have achieved, and also acknowledge the things that didn’t work out for you and let them go. While I find it really exciting to have a new year spread out in front of me like a fresh new canvas- it can feel overwhelming too. So I’m staying in my Christmas bubble just for one more day by looking over the past year in celebration. Here are my highlights!
JANUARY saw the launch of my new website and blog. My intention was to create a hub with all my stuff in one place. So it’s a place for design news, what I’m up to, interior inspiration as well as links to all my social media channels. I worked with the incredible Caz from Making Waves to create an identity that really visually communicated what I was about along with a new set of portraits taken by the amazing Luca Sage. This was a wonderful way to kick start the new year with intention!
FEBRUARY saw the final of The Great Interior Design Challenge and I was delighted to be invited back as a guest judge and reunited with my hommies the lovely Daniel Hopwood and Tom Dyckhoff. We were treated to exceptional talent and provocative design from Daniela Tasca York and Oliver Thomas. Before you ask sadly the BBC hasn’t commissioned a new series for 2018 so our TV sets are bereft of interior design programming once more.
MARCH saw the launch my unique Colour workshop. This was to a small group of interior design lovers with the aim to help them explore what colour palettes best suit them and their homes. I shared my own individual approach to colour, which is part getting tapped into your gut and intuition and part sharing my tried and tested colour scheming tips and theories. Next course is in February and there’s still chance to grab a spot here!
APRIL saw my Mum finally move into the annex! After six months in the planning and six months in construction- all documented on my YouTube channel– she finally gets to move into her shiny new home. It’s been a massive success having her next door and I have a lot to thank her for. Her love and support and not to mention her cooking!
March also saw me appear as cover girl for the Mail on Sunday talking about my favourite subject ever… Colour! Seeing myself full page was quite a surreal moment- definitely one to get framed for the downstairs loo!
MAY highlight was being invited to Chelsea Flower show with Daniel on the opening day. Such a riot of colour and creativity it feeds my soul every time! And you all loved my celeb spotting on Instagram Stories!
JUNE saw my TV debut on screen as the new interior designer for BBC ONES DIYSOS. This was the most incredible experience and a real honour to be part of. The episode which helped the inspirational Ratcliffe family has been nominated for a National TV award, so something we can all feel very proud of in every way. Its a real privilege making great TV while making a real difference to peoples lives.
Also this month saw the launch of my Colour Psychology course for Interior designers workshop with the enigmatic Fiona Humberstone. Launching any new course is exhausting but really rewarding and I loved working along side such a creative force. Check out our new date for June here.
In JULY we also hosted our own mini festival here at the house to bring all our friends and family together. It rained but in true Brit style we stuck it out! We hope this is something we can build on year on year so watch this space! Its a big part of why we moved from the city to the countryside.
AUGUST is school holidays and my ultimate aim is to not to have to work throughout this month so I can dedicate myself fully to spending time with my son and enjoying the house. This year I didn’t quite manage it as I was preparing a huge design project. But my highlight has to be our camping trip to the inspirational Ewlease farm in Cornwall. Bracing swims in the sea, turkish baths, morning yoga in a field every day and a little digital detox was just what the doctor ordered!
SEPTEMBER was the month I undertook my biggest project ever. I was blown away to be invited to design the Children in need special with DIYSOS. My biggest most ambitious project to date saw me design a community center with accommodation for kids in care. It was a particularly moving experience as my husband and I have been in the adoption process all year and know all too well the struggles these young kids face. Thanks so much for all your support for this cause with this epiosde raising an astonishing £500K for Children in Need.
OCTOBER saw me hosting the prestigious Amara Interior design blog awards with my sidekick Dan Hopwood. I love this event, hosted by the fabulous team at Amara, as it brings together everything I love about blogging and social media. It’s a celebration of an incredibly tight knit community of passionate people and acknowledges what they do best. Sharing great interior design!
NOVEMBER I hosted my biggest and most highly attended course to date. We sold out our Colour Psychology for Interior Designers, held at the inspiring Papermill Studios in London, to a passionate crowd of interior designers and entrepreneurs. Highlight for many was my styling workshop where I share my ways to make a room scheme hang together. However highlight for me was the mouthwatering lunch supplied by Hampstead Kitchen.
I also attend the Focus and Thrive workshop, hosted by brand stylist Fiona Humberstone and life coach Elizabeth Cairns. It was a fully immersive two day course with the sole purpose of focusing on myself and my business which was sheer heaven in itself. It allowed me to reflect on my values and therefore plan powerful future goals. Held at the fabulous Beaverbrook estate which was an interior design inspiration in itself! If you get the chance grab a spot on the next workshop here.
DECEMBER has been the most epic month yet. We unexpectedly discovered rising damp throughout our ground floor and decided to jump on it. So the house was stripped back to bare brick all with a few weeks of Christmas. Along with our builders we worked so hard to get the house back to some sort of sanity in time for Christmas. With a temporary kitchen and a working tap (Yay!) we even hosted 8 people on boxing day and had our besties over for a sleep over for new years eve. As I type the builders are back after the break and it all starts again! The dust and upheaval is exhausting but at the same time I feel so engergised to at last be banishing the magnolia walls and beige carpets.
So that neatly rounds up my 2017. Not to go without thanking all the amazing brands I’ve collaborated inspiring work with; Sofa.com, John Lewis, Marks and Spencers, Hillarys, Crown paints, Ikano bank, Anglican windows, Grand Designs Live, Essential Edinburgh, Royal Carribean. It’s been a really cathartic experience writing this post. As well as celebrating the positive its also been about letting go of the negative. For me personally the big one is letting go of trying to have anymore birth children which has been immeasurably hard but acknowledging all you have to be grateful for always helps, and as you can tell my cup runneth over in that respect! I have so much to look forward to in 2018 so will continue to post with positivity and passion. The renovation of my home, some amazing work prospects are all going to create some great 2018 highlights. Thanks so much for being a part of my journey so far and spreading the colour love!